Garber says MLS would use goal-line technology

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Garber praised the Seattle Sounders for marketing beyond their youth soccer community.

“It’s about young, urban, hip, 20-somethings who care about the game and really want something to cheer and celebrate for because they’re connected to it through EA, connected to it through watching Fox and the Premier League, and now we’re going to give them the chance to do it in their hometown,” he said.

Television ratings are down 18 percent on ESPN and ESPN2 through three telecasts but the new package on NBC Sports Network has averaged 118,000 viewers for six telecasts, up 84 percent from last year on Fox Soccer Channel, which has a smaller distribution.

“We’ve got to grow our television ratings in order to achieve our goals,” he said. “We could turn that switch on if we wanted to invest in more David Beckhams, because we’ve seen ratings growth with (Thierry) Henry and Beckham when those two players are on national television.”

He said uniform sponsorship deals had generated nearly $100 million for MLS and its teams and that the Los Angeles Galaxy’s agreement with Herbalife alone was worth $40 million over its term. In addition, Garber said a media private equity fund has invested in Soccer United Marketing. The league has no plans anytime soon to switch to an international calendar or start relegation.

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